Friday, July 20, 2007

The Baby Leash



"Maybe if I stick my tongue out a little, I'll run faster."



Run Grandma Run!!!



I'm not impressed with the new i-phone. Easy internet access on the go, big deal! Checking my email in line at the post office, who cares? The greatest invention of the 21st century has to be the baby leash. At first, I was apprehensive, like most are when accepting a new technology. I asked the obvious questions, "Is it really necessary? Will it be obsolete in two years? Will it confuse my child into thinking she is a dog?" But after a few blocks around our neighborhood without the stroller, I realized we were entering new territory, and new technology was required.

I used to look forward to our walks. They were leisurely and pleasant. We stopped to smell the flowers and visit our neighbors. Froggy was safely and securely strapped head-to-toe in her stroller, munching on Cheerios and pointing out the wonders of the world. Our daily jaunts around the 'hood helped me regroup, breathe, and gather sunshine. It was my favorite part of the day. But a month ago, Froggy decided that she wanted to walk. Wait, maybe I didn't quite make myself clear in 22-month-old language. So I'll translate. She wanted to WALK, and under no circumstances would she accept being strapped down, because...

"It's totally claustrophobic in my stroller, man!, I'm a mini-woman on the go, I got things to do, doors to knock, sidewalk cracks to jump over, jasmine to pick, kitties to chase, people to greet, sticks to poke in holes, fences to climb, bugs to jump on, lawn ornaments to torment, I rule the neighborhood, so no strollers allowed!"

For a few weeks we navigated the city streets sans stroller, with Buddy leading the way. But while the dog ran one way, Froggy ran up to a house, knocked on the door, stuck her hand in the mail slot, ran dangerously close to a Rotweiler, and tried to kiss a bee that had nestled into our neighbor's rose bush. I realized that Buddy and Froggy together would eventually divide and conquer...me. Buddy was already on a leash. That meant only one thing. The kid would have to join him.


Froggydadda vehemently opposed the baby leash decision. But after careful consideration of his feelings, I decided they were invalid. Okay, okay, not invalid, just ridiculous. He believed that it was unnatural to tether a child, like a prisoner or dog. Geesh! What psychological affect would the "strapping down" of our baby have on her future life's happiness. But I assured him, "honey, we're gonna screw her up on so many levels, this is the least of our concerns. Trust me, in therapy twenty-years from now, she won't even remember the leash. She will however bring up the fact that her parents danced along to her Sesame Street dvd's and knew all the words to "The Ladybugs Came to the Ladybug's Picnic." Or maybe she'll need to discuss with a therapist the reasons behind her father incessant need to bring home random junk and store it in our car-port (ya know because we really need another bike tire, or decapitated doll's head), or how her mom yells at the neighbors to quiet their car alarms, or promises to follow the fruit truck home one night to dismantle the horn that plays "La Cucaracha", or how her dad whistles constantly to weird, random theme songs like, "Melrose Place" or "Bonanza," or how her mom recorded every embarrassing, cute and memorable experience of her life on a blog, so that family and complete strangers could tease her about it when she's sixteen, and remind her boyfriend that when she was a baby, she'd toot in the tub, screaming "Peeeeuuuwwww!"

So after careful consideration of only my feelings, I decided that the baby leash was a necessity and Grandma W. agreed. The great thing about a baby leash in 2007 is that they are cleverly disguised as cuddly stuffed-animal backpacks. Froggy has a puppy-pack that wraps around her chest, has a cute puppy head peering over her cute baby shoulder, with a cute little puppy tail, well, that acts more like a leash than a tail. It's so cute, one would hardly notice that upon running too fast, she suffers whiplash.


But even with all the camouflauge, we still get "looks". I knew some people disagreed with kid shackles, but you would not believe the distainful glares we receive while taking our tike and dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Picture this: I'm in the back, holding the baby on the leash, who is holding the dog on his leash. We're kind of like a family chain gang, but instead of hardened criminals digging ditches, we're a mom, toddler and a pomeranian, strolling to the park. I think it's cute, others give us the "I'm calling the authorities!" look. One woman even shook her head in digust as she passed us, like I'd just pulled down Froggy's diaper in the middle of Wal-mart to swat her with the "my little trailer barbie" she was beggin for! Come on.


Men react differently. They either laugh or are too busy checking out the hot girl riding down the street on a beach cruiser to notice a baby on a leash. One obviously-single-guy gave me a dirty look, like, "That's just wrong." To which I telepathically replied, "You just wait mister. One day while chasing a toddler down a city street, avoiding cars backing out of parking lots, big dogs, and homeless guy poo, your judgement will turn to empathy, so until that day, you just keep your eyes on that hottie on the bike, and leave me alone!"

I must say it doesn't really bother me that the general public feels we're confusing our child as to what species she belongs. Because the general public doesn't know Froggy. Today on our walk, we tucked the baby leash in the stroller assuming that together, FD and I could handle the little tadpole. In .00005ths of a second, Froggy dashed into the street. Fortunately, there were no cars coming. But there could have been. This kid is so fast, we would have to be psychic to anticipate her next move. And I guess I'd rather look like a bad parent, than actually be one.

We can chalk this up to yet another thing I promised I would never do as a mom. I'll use whatever tactics, no matter how unconventional to keep my baby safe. Hopefully by the time Froggy is 14, someone will have invented the teenager leash, keeping her out of backseats and vans. Someday. And, I have a feeling FD will be more agreeable to that one.

5 comments:

MONSTER said...

I love the random things that FD brings back home, very cool. And the "family chain gang," very funny. Beautiful photos, sooo sweet.

Casey said...

I love, love, love baby leashes. Love them!!

Anonymous said...

i totally hear you...and i CONSTANTLY think to myself "i'm never going to do that..." and then ALWAYS find myself doing it...or allowing my child. my daughter is all over the place too. this age is adorable and exhausting. good for you.

DutchMac said...

Can we get together and complile a list of all the standards we've thrown out the window when Reality strikes? I'm sure we could have a good novel and a half between the two of us!

Good to know we're each screwing our kid up in our own special way.

Spanish parent said...

Hi,

I'm the father of a 16-month old little girl and would like to buy a baby leash. It's impossible to find one here in Spain.

Do you know of any website that sells baby leashes? What brand is yours?

My email is valencia_sailing@yahoo.com

Thanks in advance